Middle East News: World Press Roundup

NEWS: Israeli cost-of-living protesters now must try to develop political momentum. Pres. Abbas is touring Europe and Latin America to shore up support for Palestine's UN membership application. The hunger-strike by Palestinian prisoners held by Israel grows. A small group of Palestinians berate US officials in Ramallah. The US says both Israel and the Palestinians have accepted the new Quartet statement. There may be a generation gap in US rabbis' support for Israel. Palestinians demonstrating against the torching of a mosque in Israel are met with tear gas. Egypt may be preparing a sharp increase in the price of its gas exports to Israel. Congress now is considering reducing but not eliminating aid to the PA. Palestine requests membership in UNESCO. Pres. Obama's team develops strategies to win support from Jewish voters and donors. COMMENTARY: Walter Rodgers says GOP presidential candidates are showing more loyalty to Israel than their own country. A group of Palestinian lawyers expresses concerns about the impact of the UN bid on the status of the PLO. Shlomo Avineri says there's no realistic chance for peace under present circumstances. Zohir Andreus says there's so much racism in Israeli society, no wonder mosques are being torched. Mohammad Darawshe says no lessons have been learned between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel in the last 10 years. Ravi Menon says Mohandas K. Gandhi was not a supporter of Zionism. Ori Nir looks at the development of "price tag terrorism." Emily Cadei says members of Congress are trying to blackmail the UN over Palestinian statehood. Hussein Ibish says Gilad Atzmon spreads anti-semitic hate and John Mearsheimer was wrong to endorse his new book.

Israel's tent protests transition to next stage: political fight
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Joshua Mitnick - October 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Some two months after sparking mass demonstrations across Israel, the social protest movement that rattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces an uncertain future as it transitions from the street to the political realm. The symbol of the protest movement, the tent encampment on Tel Aviv Rothschild Boulevard, was dismantled yesterday by police. Hours later, Mr. Netanyahu tried but failed to convince cabinet ministers to support a package of economic reforms inspired by the protestors.

Abbas on charm offensive to push UN bid
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 5, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (AFP) -- President Mahmoud Abbas flew to Europe on Tuesday to kick off a week-long tour which will also take him to Latin America to shore up support for his UN membership bid. The UN membership request, which Abbas formally presented to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Sept. 23, is being studied by the 15-member Security Council, which is expected to vote on it in the coming weeks. The move is strongly opposed by both Israel and the United States, which say a Palestinian state can only emerge through bilateral negotiations.

Palestinians say Israeli prison hunger strike grows
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Alertnet
by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Ali Sawafta - (Analysis) October 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails have joined a hunger strike to protest against worsening prison conditions, the Palestinian minister for prisoner affairs said on Monday. Issa Qaraqea told Reuters that some 500 prisoners in Israeli jails were refusing to eat, rapidly swelling the ranks of the protest which began last week. The strike was called after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toughened restrictions on Palestinian prisoners as part of an effort to force the Islamist group Hamas to free a kidnapped Israeli soldier.

Palestinians accost US delegation in West Bank
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Statesman
by Mohammed Daraghmeh - (Analysis) October 4, 2011 - 12:00am

A small crowd of Palestinian protesters accosted an American diplomatic delegation visiting the West Bank Tuesday, blocking a convoy of vehicles, chanting "shame on you" and hurling a shoe — a deeply insulting gesture in Arab culture. The Americans, including employees of the consulate in Jerusalem, were on their way to a U.S. reception in town of Ramallah meant to reaffirm cultural and educational ties with the Palestinians.

US says Israel, PA support new Quartet approach to talks
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Herb Keinon - (Analysis) October 4, 2011 - 12:00am

In an apparent effort to keep the most recent Quartet initiative alive, the US embassy circulated a statement on Tuesday giving the impression both Israel and the Palestinians have equally accepted a Quartet framework for returning to direct talks, though the Palestinians have not yet formally endorsed the idea. Under the proposal, Israel and the Palestinians are supposed to sit down for a preparatory meeting by October 23, or two weeks from Sunday.

Rabbis’ love for Israel: Is it a generational thing?
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Dan Klein - (Analysis) October 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Do Conservative rabbis become more politically conservative on Israel as they grow older, or are older rabbis simply more right wing than younger rabbis when it comes to Israel? A new study by the Conservative movement’s flagship institution presents some evidence of a generational gap among rabbis, finding that older ones tend to identify more closely with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, while younger ones also favorably view J Street, the more liberal “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobbying group.

Palestinians demonstrating at destruction of mosque met with police tear gas
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
by Hugh Naylor - (Analysis) October 5, 2011 - 12:00am

For the residents of this Palestinian village inside Israel, it was not enough that earlier this week their mosque was vandalised and burnt, probably by ultranationalist Jews from West Bank settlements. When they set out peacefully to protest against the desecration of the Noor Mosque, they were met with Israeli police hurling tear gas canisters and stun grenades. Israeli authorities said the demonstrators were making their way to the nearby Jewish community of Rosh Pina, an allegation they deny.

Egypt sees new Israel gas deal soon
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Al-Masry Al-Youm
by Reuters - October 4, 2011 - 12:00am

Egypt will soon finish drafting a new contract for gas exports to its neighbour Israel that includes a big increase in prices, a newspaper cited the petroleum minister as saying on Tuesday. Gas supplies to Israel have been disrupted by a series of attacks on the pipeline in the Sinai border region by assailants believed to oppose the sale of gas to the Jewish state. The attacks became more frequent and supplies were halted after the overthrow of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak in February.

Congress looks to punish Palestinians, but cuts to security aid pose dilemma
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
by Ron Kampeas - (Analysis) October 4, 2011 - 12:00am

If the Palestinians don’t pull back from their statehood push, congressional cuts in aid are inevitable, U.S. lawmakers say. Just how comprehensive such cuts will be, however, could end up depending on Israel’s stance on the issue. Lawmakers, lobbyists and congressional staffers told JTA that hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance for the Palestinians are on the chopping block because of the Palestinian leadership’s formal request last month for U.N. membership in the absence of negotiations with Israel.

Palestinians seeking membership in UNESCO
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Google News
by Angela Charlton - (Analysis) October 5, 2011 - 12:00am

Palestinian officials are set to seek membership in the U.N. cultural agency Wednesday, diplomats say, as they expand and accelerate their push for international recognition despite opposition from the United States and Israel. With peace talks stalled and landmark efforts to get Palestine recognized at the United Nations inching along a labyrinthine path, Palestinian diplomats are pursuing other, potentially faster avenues toward getting the world to consider their territories a nation.

Obama's Jewish Team Lays Out Path Back to White House
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jewish Daily Forward
by Nathan Guttman - (Analysis) October 5, 2011 - 12:00am

For the past three months, a group of President Obama’s Jewish supporters has been getting together for a weekly conference call to discuss strategy. The group, includes, among others, former White House adviser David Axelrod, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former Congress members Robert Wexler and Mel Levine, Chicago Jewish activist and attorney Alan Solow, and mega-donors Penny Pritzker and Lester Crown.

GOP candidates show more loyalty to a foreign country (Israel) than their own
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Walter Rodgers - October 4, 2011 - 12:00am

It is disconcerting to see the foreign-policy traps that Republican presidential candidates set for themselves, especially when it comes to Israel and the Middle East. They do a disservice to the United States by trying to bind a sitting American president to the policies of a foreign government, specifically to the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Palestinian lawyers affirm essential role of PLO at UN
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ma'an News Agency
October 5, 2011 - 12:00am

As the Security Council considers Palestine's application for full membership of the United Nations, Palestinian lawyers, jurists and legal scholars have signed a joint statement expressing concern over the bid's implications for Palestinians' rights.

No realistic chance of permanent Middle East peace
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Haaretz
by Shlomo Avineri - October 5, 2011 - 12:00am

In his speech to the UN General Assembly, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas once again made a common Palestinian mistake: a Palestinian leader does not have to persuade the nations of the world, but rather the Israelis. A Palestinian state will arise only if the Palestinians convince the Israelis that they are indeed ready to live in peace and mutual recognition. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was able to do so with his historic speech to the Knesset, which turned him in the blink of an eye from a bitter and cruel enemy to the most popular figure in Israel.

Story of Jewish terror
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Zohir Andreus - October 5, 2011 - 12:00am

It was the chronicles of a story foretold: The terrorism of radical Israeli elements against Arabs reached into the Green Line not too long ago, and it was a matter of time before it hit again. Here’s a reminder: In August 2005, four Arabs were murdered and dozens were wounded by Jewish terrorist Eden Natan Zada, the resident of Tapuach in the occupied West Bank. Early Monday, the al-Nur mosque in the Upper Galilee village of Tuba Zangaria was torched.

No lessons learned
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jerusalem Post
by Mohammad Darawshe - October 5, 2011 - 12:00am

For the Arab public in Israel, the October 2000 clashes remain an unresolved case. Thirteen families who lost their loved ones, joined by the entire Arab community, still ask out loud how it is possible that lethal fire was opened on demonstrators yet justice never prevailed. After all, tense, and occasionally violent, demonstrations were not invented by the Arab public: protesters have repeatedly blocked roads in Jerusalem, and settlers in Amona threw rocks at police officers, yet no one ever conceived of ordering sniper fire in response to those actions.

Gandhi and Zionism
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Ravi Menon - October 5, 2011 - 12:00am

The Palestinian issue, more than any other wrangle in modern times, has huge overtones of a morality play and as an Indian living in this region, I have always been intrigued about what Gandhi, that apostle of peace and a strong advocate of morality above all in politics, had to say on this troubling matter. And all this takes on a special meaning on the eve of the upcoming historic debate and the move to table a resolution to recognise Palestine as a state in the UN.

"Price Tag" Terrorism Crosses the Green Line
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Americans For Peace Now
by Ori Nir - October 4, 2011 - 12:00am

The extremist settlers call it "Price Tag." We have always called it by its proper name: Terrorism. Now, Israel's Shin Bet, the IDF's top brass and Israeli Cabinet members agree with us. On Monday, shortly after a mosque was torched in an Israeli-Arab village in the Galilee and "Price Tag" graffiti was found nearby, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, a member of the extreme right wing Yisrael Beitenu Party, told an Israel Radio reporter that he prefers not to use the perpetrators self-serving jargon. "This is an act of terrorism," he said.

General Disassembly
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Foreign Policy
by Emily Cadei - October 4, 2011 - 12:00am

To hear Republican politicians tell it, the failure of the United States to stop the Palestinians' headlong drive for member-state status at the U.N. Security Council was the result of employing too many carrots and not enough sticks. That line of reasoning was on full display this week, as Congress froze $200 million in assistance earmarked for the Palestinian Authority in retaliation for its statehood bid. But a number of GOP figures are thinking even bigger -- or smaller, as it turns out: Seeking a tougher U.S. line on a U.N.

Gilad Atzmon and John Mearsheimer: self-criticism, self-hate and hate
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ibishblog
by Hussein Ibish - October 1, 2011 - 12:00am

I've long been an advocate that self-criticism, both as an individual and as a group, is an essential element of healthy political engagement. Group-think, political orthodoxy and correctness, and chauvinistic received wisdom are the worst kinds of political poison. Triumphalism and/or paranoia are the inevitable consequences, and they lead to grotesque distortions of perception and judgment. Self-criticism, especially of a group one identifies with and participates in, is not only healthy, it is indispensable.

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